Writing minutes: 6 ways& 9 tips for taking notes (+ template)

At a team meeting in the office, a seminar at the university, or in the classroom – there are many situations in which minutes are written. We present different types and give tips that will make writing especially easy for you.

Writing minutes is a task that most people like to avoid. If you have to record a meeting or the course of a meeting, it is called a absolute concentration. You must not wallow in thoughts during the conversation and should take some notes. Basically, however, writing minutes is not as bad as its reputation. In the following, we will give you tips that will help you quickly and easily create a good protocol.

Protocol: These types exist

These types of minutes exist

There are many good reasons for writing minutes. For important meetings and team discussions, well-written minutes provide a comprehensive summary of the decisions made. In this way, participants can check individual points afterwards and obtain information if they have forgotten something.

In addition, employees who did not take part in the meeting are brought up to date with the help of the minutes brought up to date. An oral report of the events is usually incomplete and takes too long. Even if there are disagreements after a meeting, the protocol comes into play. It records exactly what was decided and by whom.

However, minutes are not the same as minutes. There are in fact many different types. Most often you will have to deal with two kinds, namely the Result protocol and the progress protocol. In addition, there are also hourly protocols, experimental protocols, verbatim protocols and memory protocols, among others. To which type a protocol belongs, depends on what is recorded in it. In general, when writing a protocol, you should make sure that you only include important information and leave out superfluous information.

Results protocol

As the name implies, in a protocol you merely record the results of your work The results of a conversation or a team meeting firmly. The result protocol is very compact and quicker to read than a progress protocol. In this document, all participants can see which decisions were made in a meeting and which tasks were distributed. If several decisions are to be made at once in a conference or discussion, the minutes of results are a good choice. Tips for better argumentation can be found here.

Progress log/ discussion log

In a progress or discussion log, you record individual contributions to the discussion

In a progress transcript, you focus on the Course of the conversation and, if necessary, decisions made. In the minutes, you refer to different speeches, record discussions and highlight arguments and counter-arguments. This type of protocol is useful if you want to achieve results through discussions at a meeting. On the basis of the speeches, all participants can understand the decisions at a later point in time.

Verbatim minutes

This is basically also a progress report, but if possible, you enter the the entire wording of a meeting again. This type of protocol is particularly popular during court hearings. After all, every detail is important in such a situation. When writing a verbatim protocol, it is essential that you follow all the usual rules of citation. Further information on proper citation can be found here.

Lesson log

You will encounter this type of protocol at school or university. This is a mixture of results protocol and progress protocol. In a lesson protocol you record what is discussed in a lesson or a seminar at the university and what new insights are gained.

Experimental protocol

Experimental protocols are always connected with scientific experiments. In it, you document the execution of an experiment, your observations and, if necessary, also the results. In research, these protocols are very important so that other scientists can reproduce the experiment and check the knowledge gained in it.

In an experimental protocol, you first state the subject of the experiment and make an initial guess as to what result the experiment will yield. It is also important that you describe the materials used and document the set-up and execution of the experiment in detail. You can also record observations, such as measured values, and include an evaluation of the results in the protocol. If you make mistakes during the experiment, you can also use the transcript to make a correction written error analysis to be carried out.

Memory protocol

This type of protocol is rarely used, because it is not very reliable is. As the name suggests, in a memory protocol you reconstruct the course of a meeting from your memory. It is not a chronological transcript, but a subsequent summary of contents and resolutions.

Tips for writing minutes

Tips for writing minutes

A transcript records important information from conversations, team meetings or seminars. In order for all participants to benefit from the minutes afterwards, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when preparing them. It is important that you work carefully and Stay focused on the task at hand. Otherwise you will get stressed, quickly lose the overview and feel overwhelmed. In the following, we have compiled valuable tips that will make writing minutes easier for you.

Create a template

You make your work much easier if you create a template for your minutes before the meeting begins. In it you record all information known to you a. If you save the template, you will have the possibility to use it again the next time or to pass it on to your colleagues. They will certainly be grateful to you.

Separate important from unimportant things

Even during the transcription, you should make sure that you only include relevant information in your minutes. It does not matter what kind of minutes you write. If you are unsure whether a piece of information is important or not, you include it in the protocol. In no case do you have to write down word for word everything that is said. This would not be possible at all. Make yourself clear in between, what the goal of the meeting is and whether you have recorded all the important information in relation to it.

Write in bullet points

Keywords are helpful

So that you do not lose the thread and keep up, it is useful to record in keywords. It would take too long to write down complete sentences. However, make sure that you formulate the keywords in such a way that you still know what the conversation was about when you write the minutes.

Use abbreviations

You save a lot of time if you abbreviate long words. Think in advance about what a meeting or conversation will be about. There may be words that come up over and over again that you can think of a shortcut for. When writing the minutes it is very important save as much time as possible. If you write out every single word, you will probably not be able to keep up with a heated discussion.

Ask for clarifications if you are not sure

Do not be afraid to ask questions

If a term is mentioned during the discussion that is unclear to you, or if you do not understand entire contexts, you must ask about it. Shyness is out of place here. You must not feel uncomfortable asking questions. In order for the minutes to contain all the important information, it is crucial that the person taking the minutes can follow the conversation without any problems.

Remain objective

If you don’t agree with certain aspects of the conversation or decisions made in a meeting, you can voice your concerns out loud, but you can’t secretly record them in the minutes. As a recorder it is your task to report objectively about the events and, if necessary, the results achieved without comment record.

If you express your discomfort aloud and your opinion is subsequently part of the discussion, you should of course record it in the minutes. Emotional reactions by the way, decisions of participants of the meeting have no place in the minutes, just like subjective opinions of the minute-taker. Tips for the right handling of your emotions can be found here.

Avoid misunderstandings

After the discussion is over, it is a good idea to check with the discussion leader to make sure you have recorded the results correctly. Like this Avoid misunderstandings and are able to clarify any ambiguities.

Use a laptop

Take minutes on your laptop if possible

It is always a good idea to take the minutes on a laptop. You are like this flexible and have the possibility to add points afterwards, if the conversation takes an unexpected course. If you write on paper, the page may already be filled and you will lose the overview.

If you still prefer to use pen and paper, you should always leave enough space between individual points. This way you have the possibility to review the meeting at a later point in time Additions to take.

Finish the protocol as soon as possible

When the meeting is over, your work as a minute-taker is not done yet. Now it is time to revise the notes and finalize the protocol. You should do this if possible do not procrastinate. Tips for overcoming procrastination can be found here. If you start revising right away, you will remember exactly what was said. This way it will be easier for you to write the protocol.

This information belongs in the minutes

There is some information that should not be missing from the minutes. First and foremost, of course, this includes all important Key data about the meeting, conversation or seminar in question. It is best to place these at the top of the page, in the so-called protocol header. The following information is part of it:

  • Date of the meeting
  • Place of the meeting
  • Persons present
  • Name of the minute taker
  • Topic

With this you have successfully written down the formalities of the protocol. In the further course, depending on the type of protocol, you go into individual points of discussion, record comments, decisions and open questions. If there are plans for the further procedure, these also belong in your protocol. The protocol concludes with your Signature. Ideally, you also ask the chairman of the meeting for his signature. Is there Attachments, such as handouts or similar, you attach these to the minutes.

Sample of a result protocol

In the minutes you record the most important resolutions

As the name suggests, you record the results, key messages and most important decisions of an event in a results log. A good strategy is to record individual aspects already during the discussion according to Top terms to sort. Then you will have less work later and you will recognize directly which points are important. If there are agreements between statements of different participants, you summarize them. digressions and unnecessary statements do not need to be written down at all. This saves you a lot of work afterwards.

You should refrain from reproducing the events chronologically in a report of the results. Write the minutes in Presence and give individual aspects in bullet point form in a logical order again. You start the result protocol with a protocol header. If there is a schedule, you add it afterwards. Then you record the results of the meeting in a factual and objective tone. The minutes close with your signature. For a better overview you can also make a table. If necessary, you add attachments. Below, we present you with two sample minutes of results:

Staff meeting on xx.xx.xxxx

  • Topic
  • Place
  • Participant
  • Management
  • Name of the person taking the minutes
  • attachments

Planned procedure: point 1, point 2, point 3

1. Point 1:

  • Resolutions:
  • Further procedure:
  • Responsibility:
  • Timeline:

2. Point 2:

  • Resolutions:
  • Further procedure:
  • Accountability:
  • Schedule:

3. Item 3:

  • Resolutions:
  • Further procedure:
  • Responsibility:
  • Schedule:

Alternatively, you can also plot the individual points of the session in a Table show. This way, every participant immediately recognizes what has been decided. You put the protocol header in front of the table and put your signature under it. Such a table looks like this, for example:

Point 1Point 2Point 3
Further procedure

Template of a progress report

Template for a progress log

In a progress report, you record the course of a meeting or a meeting with the individual speeches. Nevertheless, you must limit yourself to the most important points in this case as well, otherwise the minutes will be much too long. The difference between this and the minutes of the meeting is that you have to sign the minutes individual speeches Of those present, elaborate on them if they are relevant to the goal of the meeting.

When writing the minutes, you may time of recording Do not disregard. So it does matter when who said what. Write the minutes of the proceedings in the present tense and use indirect speech for speeches.

Like all other minutes also, you begin the progress protocol with a Minutes header. This contains the key data of the meeting. The following follows in advance fixed items on the agenda, if there is one. In the further course you keep Resolutions and their origin firmly. At the end sign you the minutes and add attachments if necessary. A progress protocol could look as follows:

Staff meeting on xx.xx.xxxx

  • Place
  • Participant
  • Lead
  • Name of the keeper of the minutes
  • Agenda: 1. ; 2. ; 3.
  • Description of the current situation of X
  • Follow-up questions from Y
  • Suggestion by Z
  • Vote
  • Decision
  • Description of the situation by X
  • Suggestion by Y
  • Pro from Z
  • Contra of X
  • Reconciliation
  • Resolution
  • Topics for the next meeting
  • Proposed date

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